Mississippi Center for Public Policy

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Answers: A Charter School Q&A Series

October 26, 2012

MCPP Policy Snapshot

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Answering your questions about charter schools in Mississippi -- Submit a Question

Why Do Children in A, B, or C Districts Need Charters?

For the same reasons parents and children in any district might want a public charter school. Studies have shown that charters can help traditional public schools perform better. According to an 8-year study funded by the Texas Department of Education, charter schools helped improve student performance across the board for students who remained in other public schools. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Education has found that charter schools encourage other public schools to improve performance and increase communication with parents.

Just as important, some children struggle even in good schools, and they should have the option to attend a school that will meet their needs. Why should these children be forced to attend a school that might be good for a majority of kids but not for them?


Do Charters Improve the Quality of Public Education?


Are Charter Schools a Republican or Democrat Idea?

Public charter schools have broad, bipartisan support. In fact, both presidential candidates support charter schools:

President Obama

"Whether created by parents and teachers or community and civic leaders, charter schools serve as incubators of innovation in neighborhoods across our country. These institutions give educators the freedom to cultivate new teaching models and develop creative methods to meet students' needs.  This unique flexibility is matched by strong accountability and high standards, so underperforming charter schools can be closed, while those that consistently help students succeed can serve as models of reform for other public schools. ... I call on States and communities to support charter schools and the students they serve." (source)

Mitt Romney

"As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it. To receive the full complement of federal education dollars, states must provide students with ample school choice. In addition, digital learning options must not be prohibited. And charter schools or similar education choices must be scaled up to meet student demand." (source)


How will charter schools impact school funding?

Charters are public schools. They impact public school funding just like any new school impacts funding. Charters will spring up where demand exists for better schools and new options. That said, charters can actually reduce overall educational costs, especially in growing districts, because local bond funding is not available for charter schools. Thus, a charter school could relieve a district of the need to build a new school. Funding from charitable foundations – supplemented in some cases with federal grants – is usually the funding source for charter school facilities. The per-pupil funding that follows the child to a charter school does not include any amounts pledged to paying off local bonds.

At their core, charters are about funding student performance, as opposed to an educational system or bureaucracy. Charters are focused on helping kids succeed – they have to in order to stay open.

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